Posts Tagged ‘Connectivity’


THE NEW DIGITAL AGE-CH 2; The Future of Identity, Citizenship and Reporting

June 29, 2013

By 2025, the world’s virtual population will outnumber the population of Earth because each of us have chosen multiple online methods that have resulted in “vibrant and active communities of interlocking interests that reflect and enrich our world”…the data revolution that empowers us all.

But that same data revolution strips us of much of our control over our personal information in the virtual world causing significant consequences in the physical world.

All that food for thought in the first paragraph of chapter 2… and it immediately  brought to mind a current very contentious and emotional debate as we recognize what we think little about in our own virtual world raises much emotion and controversy as we find evidence of the same thing in our physical world –i.e., PRISM and NSA data capture.  Yes, this is the chapter I referred to on June 9 that scared me to death!

The authors, Schmidt and Cohen, paint a picture of our future where our identities in every day life could be defined by our virtual activities and associations.  Our very documented pasts will impact future prospects; our ability to influence/control how we are perceived will decrease dramatically.  The potential for others to access, share, or manipulate parts of our virtual identities will increase…especially as the use of cloud-based data storage grows.

The authors assure us the technical world is working on this vulnerability-looking for creative ways to mitigate risks through multi-factor authentication and strong encryption methods.  Access to your data may require something you know (e.g. password); something you have (e.g. mobile device) and something you are (e.g. thumbprint).  Our identity online in the future is not likely to be a simple Facebook page, but “a constellation of profiles, from every on-line activity, that will be verified and perhaps even regulated by government.”

As the authors point out, the shift from having one’s identity shaped offline and projected online to an identity that is fashioned online and experienced offline will have implications for citizens, states and companies as we all navigate the emerging digital world.

And then, for the next 50 pages they explore what full connectivity will mean to citizens in the future, how they will react to it and what consequences it will have for dictators and democrats alike.

An era of critical thinking will emerge; commerce, education, healthcare and the judicial system will be more efficient, transparent and inclusive; myths about religion, culture, ethnicity will struggle “amid a sea of newly  informed listeners”; governments will find it more difficult to maneuver; documents cannot be destroyed; history can’t be rewritten; parents will have a new role teaching children privacy and security; classes about each will be taught in schools-right along with sex education; businesses specializing in privacy will proliferate; on line identities will “become such a powerful currency” they will be sold online.

The narrative continues through whistleblower sites, wikileaks, “agents of chaos”, the emerging “Reporting Crisis” as mainstream media face significant challenges and to survive will adjust goals, methods and organizational structures from what we know today; and then the authors leave us hanging as they sum up the issue by telling us the end result remains to be seen.

Through the narrative, I learned “delete” is a figment of our imagination even today for several reasons. “Data remanence” and back- up systems guarantee this is the first “generation of humans to have an indelible record”.  Further, try as we may, new solutions will not keep us private.

After discussion of several additional consequences, the authors maintain that the power of the new information revolution is “for every negative, there will be a counter response that has the potential to be a substantial positive”.  For instance, connectivity enhances state’s power but also constricts the state’s ability to control the news cycle.

Eventually, the authors  offer the reader a series of coping strategies before launching into the closing 7-8 pages of the chapter that cover Police States 2.0, Biometric Data and finally ends with:

“What seem like debates today over security and privacy will broaden to questions of who controls and influences virtual identities and thus the citizens themselves…These changes will spur new behaviors and progressive laws but given the sophistication of the technology involved, in most cases, citizens stand to lose many of the protections they feel and rely upon today.”

As I said on June 8, this chapter scared me but also reinforces what I said then.  The daily “scandals” out of Washington today are irrelevant.  We need to stop, learn, discuss, and set new guidelines in terms of security and privacy issues of the 21st century….and 19th and 20th century attitudes and knowledge will not be the guiding forces that shape this new world we ALREADY ARE IN.


THE NEW DIGITAL AGE; Our Future Selves

June 25, 2013

First, the good news from Schmidt and Cohen:  before long “everyone on Earth will be connected”.   As we progress from 2 billion to 7 billion people experiencing digital connectivity, we all will see the benefits in “productivity, health, education, quality of life for everyone.”

But that connectivity will mean different things to different people -depending upon point of view and problems to be solved.  Everyone will benefit but not equally, and those differences become the focus of Chapter One of this thought-provoking book.

The authors take us through the positives improvements: increased efficiency, effective uses of time, more innovation, more opportunity, growth of globalization, new levels of collaborations and cross pollination, growth of the open-source movement, a better quality of life, advances in health and medicine, and- a personal interest of mine-the positive changes in education.

Schools are and will continue to integrate technology into lesson plans and in some cases, replace traditional lectures with interactive workshops.  Education will become a more flexible experience “adapting” to children’s learning styles and pace instead of the other way around.”  There will be more use of on-line short videos as the “flipping“ trend continues.  Homework means watching a video – no need for parents help with that; the classroom focuses on applications of what was learned.

Those who follow my blog or have listened to me talk about adult learning applications in today’s world certainly recognize much of this.  However, a key difference evolving in schools is that “critical thinking and problem-solving skills” will be the focus as memorized learning will decrease.  After all, we have the knowledge of the world at our fingertips with our smart mobile devices, so why fill the brain with things you may never need to know?

Although connectivity benefits us all, it does not benefit us equally.  “Those who have none, will benefit some and those who have a lot will have even more”.  The authors’ description of a day in the life of a young urban professional living in an American city in a couple decades created a lot of conflict for me.  I hope I live to see some of it; and at the same time, I hope I don’t live to witness all – as I am not so sure I will make a good adjustment!

But the advance of connectivity will have impacts far beyond a personal level and the authors’ position that how the physical worlds coexist, collide and complement each other will strongly impact how citizens and states behave.

“Each individual, state, and organization will have to discover its own formula, and those that can best navigate this multidimensional world will find themselves ahead in the future.”

The first 21st century reality of that may already be playing out before us as the almost 250 year old quest to find balance and to reconcile differences between individual freedoms and security of the whole is front and center right now – thanks to Snowden.